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Australian Law Reform

Date:14 FEB 2006

The Australian Government has started to publish Family Law Reform News on a quarterly basis as it brings in reforms which are the most significant in 30 years and will bring about a major change in the way family breakdowns are handled. The aim is to promote mediation rather than immediately entering into the adversarial legal system. The Australian Government is investing almost $400 million over 4 years in the family law system, to provide access to services to help parents stay together or to support them through the process of separation and divorce. The centrepiece of the initiatives are the Family Relationship Centres the first 15 of which will open in 2006 with the other 50 to follow over the next 3 years. Changes to the Family Law Act to encourage and support parents to work together to solve their problems will be in place during 2006. The reforms include a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. For further information see www.ag.gov.au/family. The full news article will be published in International Family Law, Issue 1 of 2006.